Monday, October 28, 2013

This Ain't a Scene, It's a Goddamned Wasteland

By Antonio Staropoli

Anyone who knows me knows I'm the drummer in a band called Another Distraction, because I don't ever stop talking about it (I'm also pretty annoying). Now, you would think that having a band in the greater New York City area might be a huge advantage, but not really. The reason being, this scene is dying quicker than you can say, "Look, Jay-Z opened another 40/40 Club." And while everyone is out dancing to some talentless DJ at these clubs, venues that nurture rock acts and other artists are closing at an alarming rate.

First the legendary CBGB closed back in 2006, which was a huge blow to what was left of the scene. So many bands got their start there, from The Misfits, to the Beastie Boys, to Agnostic Front. It makes me think I should have been born 15 to 20 years sooner. Recently, Maxwell's in Hoboken closed, which hosted some of the biggest names in rock, like Nirvana, R.E.M., and Bruce Springsteen. I am happy and proud to say that my band got to play there before they closed. They really took care of us and made us feel welcome, even though we were "nobodies."

So, as if it to pour salt on the wound, Roseland Ballroom is scheduled to close in April of 2014! As soon as I heard this, I thought to myself, great another one bites the dust. I've seen so many bands play there throughout the years: AFI, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Primus, All That Remains, Dethklok, and Bullet For My Valentine to name a few. These places aren't just venues that host rock shows, they really are a part of the history and culture of this area. And, not to mention, they gave musicians a real opportunity to make it.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the main reason these places closed or plan on closing is due to financial issues. Which tells me that there is a lack of support out there. Yes, you know who you are, people. “Yeah sure, I'll come out to see your band play. Oh sorry, I can't make it, but I'll come out next time.” Do me a favor, spend the $5 to $12 to see a few local bands and support the scene! You might actually have a good time and discover a band you really enjoy listening to. It's one thing if it's not your scene, but if it is, you have no excuse.

The biggest problem I have is actually with the bands. When you play a show, have the same courtesy and respect that the other bands had for you and stay to watch them play! If anyone understands the importance of support, it should be YOU, the musicians! This also goes for when you aren't playing a show as well. You know who you are too. Take time out of your busy lives to go support the bands that you've played with in the past. That small gesture could go a long way.

[Editor's Note: Keep what's left of the scene alive, go check out Another Distraction when they play live again. Or, ya know, if you can't make it that night, go next time.]

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